There are two keys to making good vegetable stocks. The first is to stick with the basic aromatic vegetables and maybe mushrooms and tomatoes if you like them. Unless you really want a specific flavor, I’d avoid using cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) or other strongly flavored vegetables such as asparagus or artichokes. What you’re shooting for here is a basic stock that can go with anything. The other key is to be sure to lightly brown or caramelize the vegetables before adding liquid. As with the chicken stock, I don’t add salt or pepper at this point in case I want to reduce the stock for a sauce.
Heat the Olive Oil in a large, deep pot and add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned. Alternatively, you can toss the vegetables with the oil, spread them out in a single layer on a couple of baking sheets, and roast in a
Add the water, wine, tomatoes, peppercorns, bay leaves, and parsley, bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 1 ½ hours. Allow the stock to cool slightly (for safety while pouring), and then carefully strain through a fine mesh strainer. Divide the stock into storage containers and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
If you want your vegetable stock to have a little more body, add a cup or two of chopped white potatoes. The potato starch adds texture and mouth feel, but will make your stock a bit cloudy.
© 2004 John Ash. All rights reserved.